Happy Birthday, Zitkala-Ša !
The present Doodle—represented by American Indian visitor artist of Osage, Kaw, Cheyenne River Sioux, and European legacy, Chris Pappan—celebrates the 145th birthday celebration of writer, artist, teacher, author, and suffragist Zitkala-Ša, an individual from the Yankton Sioux Tribe of South Dakota (Ihanktonwan Dakota Oyate or “People of the End Village”).
A lady who lived resiliently during when the Indigenous individuals of the United States were not considered real individuals by the American government, not to mention residents, Zitkala-Ša dedicated her life to the protection and celebration of her Indigenous legacy through the arts and activism.
On this day in 1876, Zitkala-Ša (Lakota/Lakȟótiyapi for “Red Bird”)— otherwise called Gertrude Simmons—was born on the Yankton Indian Reservation in South Dakota.
At eight years of age, Zitkala-Ša left the booking to go to White’s Indiana Manual Labor Institute, a missionary boarding school where her hair was cut against her will, she was illegal to talk her Lakota/Lakȟótiyapi language, and she was forced to practice a religion she didn’t have faith in.
This was a typical encounter for a large number of Indigenous kids in the wake of the Civilization Fund Act of 1819, which gave funding to missionaries and religious groups to make an arrangement of Indian boarding schools that would forcibly absorb Indigenous youngsters.
While Zitkala-Ša checked out a portion of the encounters in her new climate, like learning the violin, she resisted the institutional efforts to acclimatize her into European American culture—activities she fought through a long period of composing and political activism.
Returning back home to her booking, Zitkala-Ša chronicled a anthology of oral Dakota stories distributed as “Old Indian Legends” in 1901. The book was among the first attempts to carry traditional Indigenous American stories to a more extensive crowd.
Zitkala-Ša was additionally a talented artist. In 1913, Zitkala-Ša composed the content and melodies for the first Indigenous American drama, The Sun Dance, in light of quite possibly the most sacred Sioux ceremonies.
In addition to her innovative achievements, Zitkala-Ša was a long lasting representative for Indigenous and ladies’ rights. As an activist, she helped to establish and filled in as first leader of the National Council of American Indians in 1926.
Zitkala-Ša’s work was instrumental in the section of historic legislation, for example, the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924—granting citizenship to Indigenous people groups born in the United States—just as the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934.
Much thanks to you for your efforts to ensure and observe Indigenous culture for generations to come.